Above the North Pole, a 600-mile-wide space hurricane has been observed spinning.
Since studying the spinning mass of plasma spotted hundreds of kilometers above the North Pole, scientists claim to have confirmed the presence of the major weather events.
The space hurricane, which was detected by satellites in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and was raining electrons rather than water, spanned in an anticlockwise direction and lasted nearly eight hours before dissipating.
Scientists discovered that the hurricanes would cause major space weather effects and GPS system destruction.
A team of scientists, led by Shandong University in China, analysed observations made by satellites in August 2014 and created a 3D image of the hurricane in the Earth’s ionosphere.
The findings, which were published in Nature Communications, confirmed the existence of space hurricanes, which had not been detected before.
Professor Mike Lockwood, space scientist at the University of Reading, said the hurricanes could be a universal phenomena on or near planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma.
He said: “Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible.
“Tropical storms are associated with huge amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
“Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomena.”
The space hurricane, which occurred during a period of low geomagnetic activity, was found to share many features with hurricanes in the Earth’s lower atmosphere, including a quiet centre, multiple spiral arms and widespread circulation.The scientists said the hurricanes open a rapid energy transfer channel from space to the ionosphere and thermosphere, and would be expected to lead to important space weather effects.
These include increased satellite drag, disturbances in high frequency radio communications and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation and communication systems.
The team said the process may also be important for the interaction between interstellar winds and other solar systems throughout the universe.